Microsoft/Red Hat broaden partnership

TORONTO – The Microsoft Red Hat partnership became one of the more attention-grabbing alliances of 2015. The two became chummy after years of fierce rivalry when Red Hat solutions were made available on Microsoft Azure as well as colocation of support personnel. The partnership would also see Microsoft offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the first choice for enterprise Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure.

Keith Loo, Microsoft Canada’s Open Source lead, told the audience at the Red Hat Conference that the partnership was broader than just Red Hat Linux on Azure.

The partnership now includes Red Hat middleware and cloud management solutions along with OpenShift. OpenShift is Red Hat’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables developers and channel partners to create and host scalable apps in the cloud. OpenShift is also flexible to go online, on-premise and with other open source options.

“The Azure cloud can expand on Red Hat’s offering with Microsoft. This was a long time coming type of partnership that was based on customer demand,” Loo said.

Loo added that in the first 15 years of his career he was not a big fan of Microsoft and in an interesting twist of fate was asked to join the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. “I should be the last person to be asked to work for Microsoft. But I respected their open data and open government work and after meeting the team at Microsoft I became impressed with the company’s commitment to Open Source.”

Microsoft’s Open Source approach is not exactly what the marketplace thinks, according to Loo.

Most in the market tend to believe Microsoft’s stance on Open Source from five years ago. Loo said the vision today is to empower everyone to achieve more. This strategy is based on three pillars: the PC, Productivity and the Intelligent Cloud.

This strategy comes top down from CEO Satya Nadella. Loo relayed a comment from Nadella to the audience at the Red Hat Conference in Toronto: “Microsoft’s position on Open Source is there is no reason we cannot be the most open company in the world.”

Besides the Red Hat partnership, Loo cited new developments such as SQL Server on Linux, HD Insights PaaS on Linux, Windows Subsystem is on Linux and Microsoft joined the Eclipse Foundation.

The Eclipse Foundation is an Ottawa-based not-for-profit association for the open source community. Its most well-known project is called the Eclipse Platform, which is a multi-language software development environment.

The market opportunity for the channel is based on 91 per cent of companies in Canada yet to deploy hybrid cloud. Loo said that this stat was an important factor in forming the partnership with Red Hat.

“Customers wanted the partnership because it ensures the support of hybrid for Microsoft as well as research and development for a new generation of technology that is flexible and can be managed with choice and confidence,” Loo said.

Coming soon from this partnership Loo said is .Net with Red Hat.

For Red Hat, the Microsoft partnership is just one aspect of the company’s overall plan to reach $5 billion in revenue.

Red Hat Canada president Luc Villeneuve said it’s a five year plan that will continue to leverage the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform, but will be built predominantly on customer demand.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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